I’ve been in an intellectual vapor lock since my mom passed away, on October 3rd. I almost called it an intellectual constipation, but, regardless of how apropos it may be, I didn’t think that would reflect very well on my typical output.
Nonetheless, it’s been very difficult for me to get anything done. No surprise, I suppose, that I’d become depressed in my grief. But even when I’m feeling relatively well, I’m having a hard time pulling the trigger on anything. I’m barely keeping my head above water staying prepared for teaching an 8th-grade CCD class on morality, and my own course work schedule with FUS has fallen hopelessly behind plan for the semester, as I find myself unable to clearly recall what I’ve read even as I’m reading it. Even modest writing assignments – such as a short theological reflection on Veritatis Splendor – have become titanic chores for which I cannot even find a starting point.
But it’s a new year now, as of yesterday, on the Church’s calendar. And so it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on. 2011 was a year of profound loss for me, but it’s also left me with a much more penetrating sense of how short life is, how little time any of us really have to set and accomplish meaningful goals, and how frail and tenuous is our part in the legacy of civilization’s march. More than ever, I see that personal influence – especially upon children – will bear the most significant legacy for most of us, whether for good or for ill.
It’s Advent now, and an appropriate time to be aware that the time is short; that the end is coming – in one way or another – and that the wise will be prepared. That’s easier said than done – but saying it is at least some kind of start.